General Conference

Global Youth Day Embraces “the Forgotten”

Adventist youth from over 183 countries intentionally make a difference for Christ.

Silver Spring, Maryland, États-Unis
Beth Thomas, ANN
[Photo Courtesy of the General Conference Youth Department/ Andreas Peralta]

[Photo Courtesy of the General Conference Youth Department/ Andreas Peralta]

For the past nine years, Global Youth Day (GYD) has touched thousands of lives around the world for Christ—including the young people who participate. This year was no different. On March 19, 2022, youth in every conference, union, and division of the Adventist World Church, chose to “be the sermon.” 
Sam Neves, associate director of Communications for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, reports: “People from 183 countries actively shared their GYD activities through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube using the hashtags #GYD22, #BeTheSermon, #LovingTheForgotten, #yovoy and others. Collectively, they reached over 30 million individuals by posting or sharing each other’s Global Youth Day activities.”

Behind the Theme

The GYD planning committee chose the 2022 theme “Loving the Forgotten” based on Matthew 25:35-40. In that passage, Jesus commends His followers for serving Him through feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, clothing the naked, encouraging the sick and visiting prisoners. Shocked by the praise, Christ’s followers reply that they didn’t know they were serving Him by doing those things. Jesus answers, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (vs. 40).

Embracing these examples, “we focused on reaching individuals that are often overlooked. We challenged our youth around the world to intentionally reach out in love to the prisoner, refugee, elderly, missing members, etc.,” says Gary Blanchard, Youth Ministries director. “What often happens is we focus on reaching the homeless (which is a good thing), but we don’t look perhaps a little wider at others around us in need of love. We wanted to expand our range of care.”

Expanding that range of care looked like Pathfinders and youth buying groceries for poor members, preparing “blessing” bags for homeless in their cities, ministering to refugees and going door-to-door sharing the love of Jesus with those in their neighborhoods. 

“This is a lifestyle,” says Maria Manderson, editorial assistant at the Youth Department, “not just a one-day event. Even in the midst of everything, the young people are excited and they are [coming up with] new creative ways to make it work.”

What’s Next?

When asked about next year, Blanchard was quick to share that the theme is ‘Love is a Verb.’ “We particularly want to see the World Church reach out to students and educators,” he says. “Obviously, the theme also lends itself to all types of outreaches but those are the two entities we are focusing on in 2023.”

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